The quality of candidates for the next general elections in 2023, will be a huge determinant factor, that will shape the outcome of the polls in Imo State and in the South East.

A recent survey conducted by INNONEWS, across the three geo political zones, Owerri, Okigwe and Orlu Zones in Imo State, reveals that five out of every ten eligible voter in the State, with a valid Permanent Voters Card, PVC, vowed to vote for candidates with integrity, sincerity and pedigree, irrespective of the political party, such candidate(s) belong to, during the forthcoming elections.

However, how the voters intend to sieve the political parties from the crowd of “quality” candidates remain uncertain,  considering the fact it is the logo of political parties and not that of candidates that will be on the ballot on election day.

It was further observed that there is a change of perception or reasoning among voters, particularly those in urban and semi- urban settlements, who have developed cold feet towards the three major political parties.

Since the advent of democracy in 1999, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had remained the dominant political party in Imo State, until the advent of the All Progressives Congress, APC in 2014.

The All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, had served as a veritable platform which captured the political frustrations and anxieties of the people of the South East who were in search of a political identity.

Despite APGA’s tilt towards Igbo political sentiments and aspirations at that time, it was mainly used as a vehicle for politicians in Imo State to ride to public office which they discarded thereafter.

The build up to the 2023 elections has shown that majority of voters in the State are fed up with the political parties and the electoral process. This is understandable. 

Failure of governance at all levels, which impacted on the populace, a dwindling economy, rising insecurity, are chief factors which necessitated such paradigm shift.

Mr Ernest Okoro, a political analyst in Owerri, said majority of eligible voters in the state have “reset” their mindset on the next elections.

“Voters have reset their mindset and set their sights on the calibre of candidates who are jostling for elective offices and not on the political parties.

“The value or attention placed on political parties has reduced. It has now shifted to the candidates. Any candidate who can connect or has connected with the populace, who has no skeletons in his or her cupboard, would get the votes irrespective of political party affiliation” Okoro said

This newspaper observed that the emergence of Labour Party Presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, has raised an overwhelming awareness among voters in the South East, to focus on candidates in the next coming election.

Obi’s emergence has reshaped the mindset of the average voter in the South East. This can be attributed to, after the PDP and APC conceded it’s presidential tickets to non Igbos- Atiku Abubakar and Bola Tinubu.

The bandwagon effect of APC and PDP presidential primaries turned out to volcanic support for Mr. Obi across Igboland, and not necessarily for Labour Party, which Obi flies it’s presidential flag.

Hon Onyebuchi Esomonu, a newspaper columnist, said there is resurgence of focus by voters on candidates seeking for various elective positions.

“Those who believe that they will ride on Peter Obi’s back to win elections will be in for a shocker.

“There are good candidates in APC, APGA and in the PDP. And the electorate seem to be abreast of their antecedents. The voting pattern will change, and it is healthy for our democracy, if candidates are voted for based on what they can offer.

“The internet has made it possible for voters to asses who is who. And this is a good development for our democracy and for the growth of our State” Esomonu told this newspaper.


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